HBA-GUM H.B. 3822 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3822 By: Telford Judicial Affairs 4/19/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, there are no county courts at law in Bowie County. Subsequently, all cases resulting from an infraction of the law, such as Class A and B misdemeanors, family law matters, juvenile matters, as well as appeals from the justice and municipal courts, must be scheduled in district courts or higher courts. As a result, these cases are backlogged in the district courts in Bowie County. Creating a county court of law in Bowie County will alleviate the caseload of the district courts. H.B. 3822 creates one County Court of Law in Bowie County. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subchapter C, Chapter 25, Government Code, by adding Sections 25.0211 and 25.0212, effective January 1, 2001, as follows: Sec. 25.0211. BOWIE COUNTY. Creates the County Court at Law of Bowie County, as the only statutory county court in Bowie County. Sec. 25.0212. BOWIE COUNTY COURT AT LAW PROVISIONS. (a) Sets forth the jurisdiction of the county court at law in Bowie County to be as that provided by Section 25.0003 (Jurisdiction), the constitution, general law, and other law for district courts, and except as limited by Subsection (b). (b) Provides that a county court at law does not have general supervisory control or appellate review of the commissioners court or jurisdiction of felony criminal matters, suits on behalf of the state to recover penalties or escheated property, misdemeanors involving official misconduct, or contested elections or civil cases in which the matter in controversy exceeds $100,000, excluding certain specified expenses. (c) Provides that a judge of a county court at law must have the same qualifications as those required by law for a district judge. (d) Requires a judge of a county court at law to be paid an annual salary that is at least equal to 60 percent, but does not exceed 80 percent, of the annual salary that is paid to a district judge in Bowie County, including supplements or contributions payable by the state or Bowie County. Requires that the salary be paid from the same fund and in the same manner as other county officials in Bowie County are paid. (e) Prohibits a judge of a county court at law from engaging in the private practice of law. (f) Authorizes the commissioners court to authorize a judge of a county court at law to set an official court reporter's salary. (g) Authorizes a juror regularly impaneled by the district court for a week to be made available, and requires the juror to serve for the week, in the county court at law at the request of the judge of a county court at law. (h) Provides that the district clerk serves as clerk of a county court at law in matters of concurrent jurisdiction with the district courts, and the county clerk serves as clerk of a county court at law in all other matters. Requires a clerk to establish a separate docket for a county court at law. SECTION 2. Requires that notwithstanding Section 25.0009 (Vacancy), Government Code, the initial vacancy in an office of judge of the county court at law is to be filled by election for a twoyear term. Provides that the office exists for the purposes of the primary and general election in 2000. Requires the qualified voters of the county to elect the initial judge for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2001. Requires the judge, thereafter, to be elected for a four-year term as provided by Sections 64 (Terms of office, certain offices) and 65 (Transition from two year to four year terms of office), Article XVI, Texas Constitution. Provides that a vacancy after the initial vacancy is filled as provided by Section 25.0009, Government Code. SECTION 3. Emergency clause. Effective date: 90 days after adjournment.